Christine Hayes vs. Paula Fredriksen: Divine Law in Judaism and the Christian Latin West

On March 17, 2016, Professors Christine Hayes (Yale University, University of Antwerp) and Paula Fredriksen (Boston University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem) delivered two lectures on divine law, examining Jewish and Christian concepts, respectively. The event was hosted by the UCSIA/IJS Chair for Jewish-Christian Relations at the University of Antwerp.

Christine Hayes, “What’s Divine about Divine Law?” (00:13)

Paula Fredriksen, “Divine Law in the Latin West: Augustine on Paul” (41:20)

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Conference on Ancient and Modern Interactions with Religious Outsiders

On March 14-16th, 2016, The Goldstein-Goren Department of Jewish Thought at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev hosted a conference called “Perceiving the Other: Ancient and Modern Interactions with Outsiders”.

The purpose of this colloquium is to re-examine both ancient Christian, Jewish, and pagan portrayals of outsiders and modern construals of these portrayals. In what ways, both positive and negative, do ancient writers interact with and relate to those outside of their religious traditions? In what ways do modern scholars appropriate and even inflect these earlier portrayals in light of their own modern preconceptions? This colloquium will devote itself to the methodological questions surrounding the use of diverse ancient sources for the construction of the other. The goal is to shed new light on ancient interactions between different religious groups in order both to describe more accurately these relationships and to provide greater understanding and sympathy amongst modern religious traditions.

Monday, March 14

Opening Remarks and Greetings:
– Prof. Rivka Carmi, President, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
– Prof. David Newman, Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
– Prof. Uri Ehrlich, Chair, The Goldstein-Goren Department of Jewish Thought, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
-Prof. Haim Kreisel, Head, The Goldstein-Goren International Center for Jewish Thought, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Prof. Albert Baumgarten (Bar-Ilan University): John the Baptist and Jesus: An Ancient Dialogue of Disciples

Prof. Matthew Thiessen (Saint Louis University): Animalistic Gentiles according to Followers of Jesus

Prof. Uta Poplutz (University of Wuppertal): The Image of the Opponents in the Gospel of Matthew

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Tuesday, March 15

Prof. Tobias Nicklas (Regensburg University): Revisiting the Other: ‘The Jews’ in the Gospel of John

Prof. Nathan Eubank (University of Oxford): Damned Disciples: the Permeability of the Boundary between Insiders and Outsiders in Early Christianity

Prof. Katell Berthelot (CNRS): The Paradoxical Resemblance of the Roman Other

Prof. Wolfgang Grünstäudl (University of Wuppertal): Different Approaches to the Core of Christianity

Prof. Shaya Gafni (Hebrew University of Jerusalem): Various ‘Others’ in Rabbinic Literature: Between Babylonia and the Land of Israel

Dr. Haim Weiss (Ben-Gurion University): The Bodily Images of Shimon Bar-Kosibah in Rabbinic Literature

Dr. Michal Bar-Asher Siegal (Ben-Gurion University): Christian Heretics in the Babylonian Talmud

Prof. Christine Hayes (Yale University): Different Differences: The Complicated Goy in Classical Rabbinic Sources

Christine Hayes on Divine Law in Greco-Roman, Christian, Hellenistic Jewish, and Rabbinic Conceptions

Professor Christine Hayes (Yale University) has delivered various lectures on her 2015 book, What’s Divine about Divine Law? Early Perspectives (Yale University Press).

Christine Hayes shows that for the ancient Greeks, divine law was divine by virtue of its inherent qualities of intrinsic rationality, truth, universality, and immutability, while for the biblical authors, divine law was divine because it was grounded in revelation with no presumption of rationality, conformity to truth, universality, or immutability. Hayes describes the collision of these opposing conceptions in the Hellenistic period, and details competing attempts to resolve the resulting cognitive dissonance. She shows how Second Temple and Hellenistic Jewish writers, from the author of 1 Enoch to Philo of Alexandria, were engaged in a common project of bridging the gulf between classical and biblical notions of divine law, while Paul, in his letters to the early Christian church, sought to widen it. Hayes then delves into the literature of classical rabbinic Judaism to reveal how the talmudic rabbis took a third and scandalous path, insisting on a construction of divine law intentionally at odds with the Greco-Roman and Pauline conceptions that would come to dominate the Christianized West.

“The (Ir)rationality of Torah”, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, May 31, 2015

“Divine Law: A Tale of Two Concepts (and Three Responses)”, Albert and Vera List Fund for Jewish Studies Lecture, Harvard College, March 3, 2014

“Looking in the Mirror: Philo and the Rabbis on Divine Law and Truth”, Goldstein-Goren International Centre for Jewish Thought, Ben-Gurion University, January 9, 2015

“What is Divine about Divine Law”, Flegg Lecture 2015, February 11, 2015 (David Flatto respondent)